Rats and Mice Differences: How to Recognize Them

Yes, an experienced eye can immediately identify the type of annoying rodent that has targeted your home or business. The signs of an infestation of rats or mice are always the same: acrid smelling excrement, gnawing on furniture and electrical wiring, scratches on the walls, footprints and bad smell. However, the method of deratization changes depending on the type of rodent in your home or company.

Causes and dangers of the spread of rats and mice

The main cause of the high prevalence of these dangerous mammals is to be found in their extraordinary adaptability and prolificness. Rats and mice, in fact, can:

  • Live and reproduce at prohibitive temperatures.
  • Bear very high doses of radiation.
  • Feed with any available organic substance.
  • Dissect with sewage water or salt water.
  • Survive electric shocks up to 200V for over a minute.
  • Fall from a height of 20 meters and easily overcome the resulting physical trauma.

These animals have a short life span but are highly prolific. The female sewer rat has an average life span of 18 to 20 months. It is able to give birth at least 5 times a year and give birth to more than 6 pups at a time.

It is impossible to quantify the food losses due to the presence of these rodents, even though the O.M.S. estimates that every year about 33 million tons of food are damaged by rats. In a year, a single mouse is able to eat 12 to 28 kg of food and at the same time pollute another 150 kg.

The constant need to gnaw something turns rats and mice into threats and causes accidents. For example, erosion of electrical cables can generate a short circuit, while erosion of water and gas pipes can cause floods and fires.

In addition, rats and mice are vehicles of many serious diseases:

  • Plague.
  • Murrine typhus.
  • Typhoid fever.
  • Anthrax.
  • Dysentery.
  • Cholera.
  • Foot-and-mouth disease.
  • Trichinosis.
  • Swine plague.
  • Rabies.
  • Leptospirosis.

Host pests of rats and mice are mainly fleas and mites, which facilitate the transmission of pathogens to humans and pets.

When a parasitic rat dies, the fleas leave it, attacking other rats and spreading the contagion.

Rats and Mice Differences

What’s the difference between rats and mice?

The colour of rats and mice is not a valid distinguishing feature, as are excrement, eating habits and some morphological traits.

The main species of rat and rat that can adapt to the human environment and with which you can come into contact are:

  1. Grey rat or Rattus norvegicus, also known as brown rat, sewer rat or panthegana. It is the most common and widespread species in the world.
  2. Black rat or Rattus rattus, also known as roof rat or common rat; it is one of the most invasive and harmful species.
  3. Rat or Mus domesticus. The little domestic mouse.

Characteristics of the mouse and comparison with the young rat

The mouse is a small rodent: 3-10 cm long. Sometimes, it can be confused with a young rat. Let’s see how to distinguish them:

  1. Compared to its reduced length, the mouse has larger ears and a longer tail than the young rat.
  2. The size of the legs and head of the young rat are disproportionate to the body, unlike the mouse.
  3. The mice are grey or brown and have a lighter shade on the belly.

The mouse lives and nests, especially indoors. It loves to nest in holes, for this reason, large holes in the walls, but also the inside of the furniture, are to be kept under observation.

The mice reproduce 7 to 8 times a year and can generate from 4 to 16 cubs per birth. They have a long tail covered with hair, very large ears and can reach a length of 12 cm.

The excrements of the mice are 1 – 2 mm long, are rod-shaped and have a pointed end. They are used to nest in holes.

Differences between black rat and grey or panthegana rat

The grey rat, brown rat, sewer rat or panthegana, has a larger body than the black rat: about 19-25 cm. and can weigh even 300gr. The length of the tail does not exceed 22 cm.; it has small hairy ears and blunt nose.

Its excrements are capsule-shaped of about 20mm. It lives in colony, nests under the ground near watercourses, uncultivated and neglected areas, like sewers, banks of ditches, etc.

The black rat is leaner than the grey rat and can reach a size of 15 -22 cm. for a weight of 200gr. It has a longer tail than the body, about 18-25 cm. wide and thin ears, and a more pronounced nose than the grey rat. Its excrements are spindle-shaped, maximum 12mm long.

It lives in colony, nests in dry and raised places, such as barns, attics, roofs, etc.

Eating habits of rats and mice

Rats and mice are both omnivorous, but have different eating habits:

  1. The rat prefers grains and is a creature of habit, which makes it easier to catch him. It survives with a few drops of water, about 3ml.
  2. The black rat prefers fresh fruit and never eats in the same place on consecutive nights. It drinks about 30ml of water per day.
  3. The grey rat, like the mouse, prefers cereals and is a habit. To quench its thirst it needs about 60ml of water per day.

Rats and mice differences in conclusion

Often, rats and mice are confused with each other, but an experienced person can detect the annoying rodent and act quickly. It is good to know the difference between mice and rats to know their habits and define the type of deratization needed.

We know that seeing a mouse or rat is a source of disgust and concern. It is difficult to maintain the necessary lucidity to identify them correctly. But you don’t have to worry, because we can intervene in a timely manner, identify the annoying rodent and act with a definitive intervention of deratization.

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